So this may be short and sweet, but I had a thought I had to share. The last few days my devotions (because, remember, I’m doing that now…) have been based around 1 Corinthians 13. I admit, when I saw that was the passage I was supposed to read, I groaned. I’ve loathed that passage for a long time now. Well, maybe loathed is a bit strong. I’ve had strong negative feelings towards 1 Corinthians 13, particularly verses 4-7 for a while now. Without going into a long dramatic story, let’s just say that during a particularly dramatic break up in high school, this verse was used as a weapon against me time and time again. I’ll let you imagine how and why frankly because rehashing that whole story does nobody any good. But the point is, I’ve avoided 1 Corinthians 13 and rolled my eyes every time it has been used at a wedding or in a church service for years. I mean, YEARS (I won’t tell you how many years it has been since I had my high school break up). So, naturally, when I saw that I was to read, ponder, and let this verse speak to me through my daily devotions not one, oh no, but two days in a row? I heaved a heavy sigh and opened my Bible to that page. And yes, as I read it, bad memories came flooding back, but they weren’t painful or infuriating anymore. They were a slightly annoying reminder of days when I hadn’t found my beloved stud (TP in case you were wondering folks), but it didn’t hurt me to read these verses anymore. Moreover, I found the rest of that chapter is actually mind-blowingly amazing. Go read it, right now. Go, I’ll wait…….
Read it? Ok, isn’t it awesome? That chapter hit me like a ton of bricks. Love. Love is it. Love is what it is all about. Without love, and I don’t mean high school “I am so smart and mature I know exactly what love is because I know everything about the entire world” love. I mean, the love of the Father, the love of our Savior. The love that we, as His servants, are called to show the entire world, no matter what. Verses 2-3 stand out to me in particular, “If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it, but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained NOTHING” (NLT, emphasis mine). Let that sink in. If I knew EVERYTHING, understood EVERYTHING, had the most strong amazing mountain moving faith, it would be NOTHING without loving others. If I gave up everything, even becoming a martyr for Jesus, and yet I didn’t show His love to everybody, everyday, all the time, then it is worthless. Wow. What a kick in the gut. I, for one, have always thought that I just needed to have more faith. I chided myself when I had doubts. I thought, “I just need to have faith. Wouldn’t it be amazing to actually be able to tell that mountain (figuratively or literally) to move and it would!?” But no, that’s not what it is about. It is about love. Loving God, yes of course. With everything I have and everything I am. But perhaps more important and infintely more difficult, loving people. Loving everybody, no matter their circumstances or what they’ve done. Loving them and seeing them as Christ sees them.
So congratulations Corinthians, you’ve made a real come back into my life and my heart. Shame on me for hardening my heart to His words for so long. But I’m so glad I’ve been camped out in this chapter for two days, because it has really challenged me to see that of all these things-faith, hope, and love- that the greatest is love.
Muse on that.